By Michael Scott
This book questions the cultural and professional attitudes to madness. While acknowledging that mental dysfunction exists, often with disastrous consequences, the author and his hero, Dr. Magnus Masterson, consider that our society, which likes to call itself normal, also has many insane features. Masterson tests his progressive theories by assembling a small group of misfits, generally labelled as schizoid, and sets up a rural community of them, the ‘brothers’ of the title. He wants to help them live authentic and creative lives together.
He has difficulties of his own. His partner, Maria, is a hard-headed journalist and challenges his liberalism when it gets out of hand.
There is also the problem of Hugo, a man with a brilliant but turbulent mind, who becomes obsessively, if platonically, enamoured of Masterson and Maria.
The novel reaches a crisis when another brother runs away. He is pursued, via Glastonbury, and on to St. David’s, evidently sacred places to the fugitive. But the end is not entirely a disaster. The experiment has some success. Love and humour somehow hold things, and the brothers, eccentrically together.